Letter 24

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17th January, 1946
One morning about September or October 1945, a devotee from Bangalore, by name Venkataswami Naidu, brought a pair of pigeons and gave them to the Ashram as an offering. Seeing that, Bhagavan said, “We have to protect them from cats, etc., is it not? Who will look after them? A cage is required, food must be given. Who will do all that here? It is better for him to take them away.” The devotee said he would make all the required arrangements and requested that they should be kept in the Ashram. He placed the pair of pigeons in Bhagavan’s lap.

With overflowing affection and love, Bhagavan drew them near him, saying, “Come dears! Come! You won’t go back? You wish to stay on here? All right, stay on; a cage will be coming.” As he thus petted them with affection, they became absolutely quiet, closed their eyes as if they were in samadhi, and stayed on there without moving this way or that.

Bhagavan thereupon keeping them on his lap stopped petting them, and with his gracious eyes fixed on them, sat in silence, deeply immersed in samadhi.

It took nearly an hour for the devotees in the Ashram to find and bring a cage for them. The wonder of it is, all through that one hour, the pigeons sat in Bhagavan’s lap without moving one way or the other as if they were a pair of yogis in samadhi. What could we say about their good fortune? Is it not the result of their punya in previous births that this great sage should seat them on his lap, cajole them by patting them from the head down to the feet with his hands, bless them and thereby bestow on them divine bliss? Not only that, when the cage was brought in, Bhagavan patted them cajolingly and put them in the cage, saying, “Please go in. Be safe in the cage.” Then Bhagavan said, “In the Bhagavatham, pigeons also are stated to be in the hierarchy of Gurus, in the chapter relating to Yadu Samvadam. I remember having read that story long ago.” While the pigeons were on his lap, one devotee came and asked, “What is this?” Bhagavan said, without attachment but assuming responsibility, “Who knows? They come, and decline to go back. They say they will stay here only. Another family has come up on me, as if what I already have is not enough.” Dear brother, it is very interesting to witness these strange happenings. It is said that in olden days Emperor Bharatha renounced the world and performed great tapas (meditation), but towards the end of his life he could think only of his pet deer and so was born a deer in his next life.

In Vedanta Sastras, in the Bharatham and Bhagavatham there are many stories like this. Bhagavan had told us long ago: “Any living being that comes to me, it is only to work out the balance of its karma. So don’t prevent anyone from coming to me.” When I looked at those pigeons, it occurred to me that they might be great saints who had fallen from their austerity in meditation; otherwise, how could they get into the lap of Bhagavan, a privilege which is impossible for ordinary people? In canto V of Bhagavatham there is a verse which says that people born in Bharatavarsha are blessed, since Hari has come there a number of times as an avatar and blessed them by His precepts, help and guidance. The above incident is an illustration of this, is it not? What do you say?